A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding A Therapist in Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN
So you’ve done some thinking and decided it’s time to find a therapist.
First of all – kudos to you! Therapy isn’t always an easy decision to make. Working with the right therapist can provide you the help and support you need to get unstuck and make those changes you’ve been seeking.
There are thousands of therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professional in the Twin Cities, so it’s no wonder that finding a therapist can seem like such an overwhelming task. You may be wondering to yourself, “where do I even begin?!” This is a totally normal feeling when searching for a therapist. Luckily, there are ways to start narrowing down your search in the Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN area (or really, any area), until you find the right therapist for you.
Here are four steps to find a therapist:
1. Figure out logistics
Before finding the right therapist for you, you’ll want to determine a few key things:
Self pay vs. insurance: Working with a therapist who is in network with your insurance is ideal for some, especially if cost of therapy is an important factor. If using your in-network insurance benefits is at the top of your “must haves,” make sure you understand your benefits by calling the 1-800 number on the back of your insurance card. You can also ask your insurance provider for in-network therapist referrals.
For others, working with an in network therapist is not a necessity. If cost is less of an issue, or if you have out-of-network insurance benefits or a high deductible, you may be considering self pay. Some benefits of self pay include access to a wider range of therapists and increased privacy and confidentiality. Read more about self pay vs. insurance in the FAQs section.
Location: Therapy sessions are usually weekly appointments, and therefore for most people, the location of their therapist’s office is an important deciding factor. If you are doing in-person therapy, determine how far you would be willing to travel to see the right therapist. If you are doing online therapy, this is far less of a concern.
Availability: Are you in college? Do you have a job requiring certain hours of your day? Are you in a better headspace for therapy in the mornings, or do you feel more tuned in during the afternoons and evenings? These are helpful to consider when conducting a therapist search, since different therapists will have different times of availability.
For instance, if you work a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 job, you will likely want to see a therapist in the evenings after work or even on the weekends. If you’re a college student and the majority of your classes are in the mornings and evenings, you may want to see a therapist in the afternoon.
2. Find a few potential therapists
A good start to your therapist search is to find several therapists and reach out to each one to learn more about them. Or, you might find one therapist that you’ve connected with and may not find it necessary to interview other therapists.
If you’re unsure of where to start, I recommend conducting a search on www.psychologytoday.com. Psychology Today is an online therapist directory that offers the ability to “filter” for different factors, such as zip code, specializations, and insurance. Each therapist’s profile provides a short description, and oftentimes includes a link to their website so that you can learn more about them before you reach out.
You can also ask your primary care physician or your insurance provider (if you’re using in-network benefits) for therapist referrals.
I recommend finding around three therapists to initially reach out to. Keep in mind that finding the right therapist might take some time, and therapy isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. For instance, one therapist may not have availability that aligns with your schedule, or another may not be taking clients, or you may talk to a therapist over the phone who – for whatever reason – you just aren’t vibing with. This can be a frustrating part of finding a therapist, but don’t be discouraged if it takes you some time. It’s worth it once you find the right one.
Some things to keep in mind when searching for a therapist: do they specialize in what you’re needing (for example – depression, anxiety, trauma, marriage counseling, addiction, etc.)? Do they “click” with you and your personality? This might be difficult to determine just from reading a short description online, which is why I encourage you to set up a time to speak with them over the phone.
3. Try to speak with them over the phone.
Most therapists are willing to speak with you over the phone about what’s going on in order to help you determine if they are the right therapist for you. You can think of this as a “therapist interview,” but it doesn’t have to be super formal, or even a long conversation (a few minutes may be enough). Speaking to therapists over the phone gives you an opportunity to ask more specific questions and get a feel for their style.
4. Set up a session.
Once you’ve found the therapist that’s right for you, you can begin scheduling sessions and start receiving the help and support you need.
Keep in mind, it may take a few sessions to get to know your therapist and to build that trust and relationship. Just remember – you have the right to terminate therapy at any time. If you have a feeling that this just isn’t the right therapist for you, don’t hesitate to let your therapist know. Therapy is an investment, so you want to make sure that you find the right one. You want to feel comfortable with your therapist, and you want to feel like your therapist gets it. This will improve the likelihood of having the best outcome from therapy.
Feel free to read more about me to learn more about who I help and how I help. If you’re interested in speaking with further about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in St. Paul, MN, schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation on my online scheduling calendar.